A large gas explosion in North Carolina has hospitalized 17 people and left one dead in an incident that also saw a priceless vintage Porsche collection damaged.
The building where the explosion began had originally opened as a Studebaker dealership in 1928, becoming defunct shortly thereafter in 1930. During the '40s, it became an auto supply facility until closing four decades later. Since the 1980s, the building has housed a variety of different businesses including a restaurant as well as a musician platform, Reverb Nation. At the time of the explosion, the building housed Kaffeinate, a coffee shop, and Prescient Co., a construction engineering firm.
Next door, however, was an automotive enthusiast's playground. Hiding in plain sight is the Ingram Collection, a cache of Porsches so extensive that those at Stuttgart themselves called it a "breath taking review of automotive design history.
In 2015, the Ingram Collection was home to more than 80 extremely rare and important Porsches. From the modern 918 Spyder to the third oldest Porsche 356 in existence, the collection truly had it all—and for an enthusiast of the brand, it simply doesn't get more awe-inspiring than this.
Bob Ingram began his career in the pharmaceutical industry as a professional sales representative, advancing and earning increasing responsibility to ultimately becomeCEO/Chairman of Glaxo Wellcome. He co-led the merger and integration that formed GlaxoSmithKline, the world's second largest pharmaceutical company. In 2007, he joined
Hatteras Venture Partners, a venture capital firm that invests in early stage life science companies. He serves as lead director or board member on numerous corporations, institutes, research centres, and foundations.
Bob has been a "car guy" from the days when he rode his bicycle past local auto dealerships to see the new models each September. A friend introduced him to Porsches in 1971 but it was another 20 years before he bought his first one. A trip to the Monterey Historic Automobile Races in 1998 inspired the collection that he and his wife Jeanie have assembled, tracing Porsche's sports car history though distinctive and often unique examples of their road going cars. That definition includes road-legal racing models from the 1950s and 1960s.
Previously, Ingram has said that the most challenging, yet enjoyable part of the collection is finding the rare and vintage parts required to make the examples complete.
The extent of the damage to the collection is unclear, but given that more than half of the warehouse roof collapsed, it is no doubt extensive - and likely irreparable.